TUL Planner Review

TUL Custom Note-Taking System Review by Underground Crafter | TUL makes an awesome planner that any crafter can customize. Learn more in my review and find TUL products at Office Depot.I’ve always been a big fan of stationery and I’ve never gone completely digital, so when the planner craze hit, I was excited to have more and better options for organizers, calendars, and note-taking. While I love getting crafty to customize my planner, I wasn’t loving some of the overly cutesy covers. I guess I’m old school, but I don’t feel like I have a powerful negotiating position in a meeting when my planner says “I am Special” in gold glitter script. I recently reached out to Office Depot and they sent me a collection of products from the TUL Custom Note-taking System to review. I’m excited to say that I was able to get the best of both worlds with TUL! Read on for a more detailed review.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. I was provided with several products from the TUL Custom Note-Taking System by Office Depot for this review. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

TUL Custom Note-Taking System Review by Underground Crafter | TUL makes an awesome planner that any crafter can customize. Learn more in my review and find TUL products at Office Depot.As I mentioned, I love planners but I’ve been looking for one with a more understated cover. For the past year and half, I’ve been really in love with discbound options. Discbound systems are great because it’s easy to remove and add pages, but, unlike with hole-punched paper, you do not have to loudly snap open a binder to do so. Also, your paper is less likely to rip because of the way the discbound pages work. I love to add and remove paper from my planner, so discbound works best for me.

I’m also pretty hard on my planner so I wanted one with a sturdy cover. The TUL Custom Note-Taking System Junior Sized Leather Cover has a classic look and is available in a variety of colors. I prefer the Junior Size because it fits into all of my different bags, but if you like a larger planner, there is also a Letter Sized option available.

TUL Custom Note-Taking System Review by Underground Crafter | TUL makes an awesome planner that any crafter can customize. Learn more in my review and find TUL products at Office Depot.In addition to a classic cover, the inside pocket also includes a place to store your writing equipment.

TUL Custom Note-Taking System Review by Underground Crafter | TUL makes an awesome planner that any crafter can customize. Learn more in my review and find TUL products at Office Depot.The cover comes with 60 lined pages for note-taking and the 8 discs you need to keep things together. I also received some additional products that transform the TUL into a completely customizable planner.

TUL Custom Note-Taking System Review by Underground Crafter | TUL makes an awesome planner that any crafter can customize. Learn more in my review and find TUL products at Office Depot.The 2018 weekly/monthly refill planner pages are a must if you actually want to use this as a planner and not just for taking notes. I use the monthly pages for my blog editorial calendar…

TUL Custom Note-Taking System Review by Underground Crafter | TUL makes an awesome planner that any crafter can customize. Learn more in my review and find TUL products at Office Depot.… and the weekly pages to organize my daily schedule for work and life. (Blank calendar pages are also available if you buy your TUL in the middle of the year.)

TUL Custom Note-Taking System Review by Underground Crafter | TUL makes an awesome planner that any crafter can customize. Learn more in my review and find TUL products at Office Depot.If you’re like me and your life has a lot going on, you’ll love the tab dividers, which allow you to separate different sections of notes to stay organized. The pocket dividers are great for when I’m between work and home because I can store small scraps of paper, business cards, and other important bits of paper that aren’t punched to fit the discbound system.

And, if the leather is too plain for you, there are more colorful and lighter covers available in the Student Edition. Now, if you REALLY want to get crafty with your TUL, invest in the hole punch. It works with all TUL sizes (and other discbound options). I use it to add some funk to my planner. I punched holes in some Animal Print Paper from Oriental Trading to add a more personal touch to my note pages.

TUL Custom Note-Taking System Review by Underground Crafter | TUL makes an awesome planner that any crafter can customize. Learn more in my review and find TUL products at Office Depot.You can find the entire line of TUL note-taking and writing products here on Office Depot.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I appreciate all of your support. I know there are a lot of craft blogs out there and I’m grateful for your visits to Underground Crafter as well as your kind words, shares on social media, and the purchase you make from my affiliate links to support my business. If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today, I hope you get to spend plenty of time with loved ones eating your favorite foods, and that you get some time to make something with your hands!

Crochet Pattern: L Square Pillow

Special thanks to CollegeCovered.com for sponsoring today’s post. CollegeCovered.com, powered by Discover Student Loans, was created to provide students and parents with great tips and tools on getting into, paying for and adjusting to college
5 Tips for Getting Your Teen Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment with CollegeCovered.com by Underground Crafter with free crochet pattern for L Square Pillow Besides having survived college myself and working as a Resident Assistant while I was a student, since graduating many moons ago, I’ve worked in higher education for about a decade in student services, academic affairs, and as a professor. That’s why I’m so excited today to share my five tips for helping you to get your teen ready to live in a dorm room or off-campus apartment, along with a quick crochet pattern for the L Square Pillow, a decorative project you can use to add a touch of handmade to your teen’s dorm room.

 This post is sponsored by CollegeCovered.com, but all opinions and ideas are my own. This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Materials for the tutorial were provided by Fairfield and Red Heart.

If you have a high school senior at home applying to college, you’re reading this at the perfect time. You have almost a year to prepare her or him (and yourself!) for the big “move in” day. To get you started, here are my five tips.

5 Tips for Getting Your Teen Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment

1: Pack light.

It will be tempting to pack tons of stuff from your room at home — but don’t. Most dorm rooms are pretty small and even if you’ll be living in a larger, off-campus apartment, packing, unpacking, and moving can take up a lot of time and money that would be better used for studying or campus activities. Spend the next few months thinking about what’s really essential and paring down what you plan to bring.

2: Personalize.

Dorms can be a bit dull, and there may be times when your teen will feel homesick, so be sure to pack what s/he will need to make a room feel like a new home. Use your teen’s favorite colors for sheets or an area rug. Instead of buying everything new, pack some of your teen’s favorite decorations from home. (This will also help you save some money that your teen can use for books and other expenses.) If your teen is crafty, be sure to remind her or him to bring some handmade projects, like the L Square Pillow, to add a personal touch to the room. You can find more ways to Make the Dorm Room Yours here. 5 Tips for Getting Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment with CollegeCovered.com by Underground Crafter with free crochet pattern for the L Square Pillow in Red Heart Super Saver yarn using a Fairfield Crafter's Choice 12" x 12" Pillow

3: Don’t forget the memories.

Okay, I know I said to pack light but if your teen brings things with sentimental value, you can help s/he can find some emotional (as well as physical) comfort in his or her room after a long night of studying. Remind your teen to collect pictures and playlists from friends so s/he can have a bit of nostalgia when necessary. If you know your teen won’t want to announce that s/he’s missing home to the world, think ahead. Collect bits of old jeans from close friends and sew up a set of DIY Denim Pocket Pillows. Your teen will be able to think back on fun times and the new roommate will be none the wiser. 5 Tips for Getting Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment with CollegeCovered.com by Underground Crafter You can find more tips in 5 Ways to Stay Close To Your Best Friend Before Leaving for College.

4: Be gentle to the walls.

Most dorms and rental apartments do not want you to damage the walls with nails or by painting. Pack removable vinyl decor or hang lightweight posters and pictures with adhesive putty. Crochet bunting is another lightweight (and easy to pack) project that can add a lot of color without damaging dorm walls.

5: Start teaching your teen how to live on her/his own.

If you’ve never done your own laundry or can’t cook to save your life, there’s still time to figure these things out. Talk to your parents, grandparents, or guardians about letting you take on more responsibility at home or teaching you how to prepare your favorite dinner. Not only will knowing how to take care of yourself make college life easier, it’s also a great way to make friends! Trust me, if you cook a homemade dinner in the common area or help a floor mate with laundry, you will be a hero(ine). (And, if your parents aren’t ready to let go, just email them the link to How to Encourage Independence in a College-Bound Graduate.)

If you make your own L Square Pillow, I’d love to see it! Share your progress and questions by tagging me on Facebook as @Underground Crafter, Instragram as @ucrafter, or Twitter as @ucrafter. You can also share a picture in the Underground Crafters Facebook group. Sign up for my weekly newsletter and get a coupon code for your choice of one of my premium patterns and other subscriber goodies.  Plus, you’ll never miss one of my free patterns again!

Add the L Square Pillow to your Ravelry favorites or queue. Underground Crafter on RavelryIf you want an easy print format, you can buy an ad-free PDF version on Craftsy. Underground Crafter on Craftsy

L Square Pillow

Crochet Pattern by Underground Crafter

5 Tips for Getting Your Teen Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment with CollegeCovered.com by Underground Crafter Get cozy with this simple motif envelope pillow case.

 

Finished Size

  • 12” (30.5 cm) square.

Materials

Gauge

  • Square in pattern = 4” (10 cm) square. Exact gauge is not critical for this project.

Abbreviations Used In This Pattern

  • CA – Color A
  • CB – Color B
  • ch – chain
  • dc – double crochet
  • ea – each
  • rep – repeat
  • Rnd – Round
  • sc – single crochet
  • sk – skip
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • sp – space
  • st(s) – stitch(es)
  • yo – yarn over
  • * + Repeat instructions following asterisk/plus sign as indicated.
  • () Instructions within parenthesis are worked into indicated stitch or space.
  • [] Repeat instructions in brackets as indicated.

Pattern Note

Pattern Instructions L Square (Make 11 starting with CA and make 10 starting with CB)

5 Tips for Getting Your Teen Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment with CollegeCovered.com by Underground Crafter
L Square (starting with CA).
  • With first color, ch 4, sk 3 ch, join with sl st to next ch to form ring.
  • Rnd 1: Ch 3 (counts as dc, here and throughout), 2 dc in ring, [ch 2, 3 dc in ring] 3 times, ch 1, sc (counts as ch-1 sp, here and throughout) to top of ch 3 to join. (12 sts + 4 ch-2 sp)
  • Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc in same sp, [*dc in next 3 sts,** (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch-2 sp] 3 times, rep from * to ** once, 2 dc in first ch-2 sp, ch 1, sc to top of ch 3 to join. (28 sts + 4 ch-2 sp)
  • Rnd 3: Ch 3, dc in same sp, +[*dc in next 7 sts,** (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch-2 sp], rep from * to **, 2 dc in next ch-2 sp++ changing to second color in final yo of last dc, ch 2, 2 dc in same ch-2 sp, rep from + to ++, ch 2, sl st to top of ch 3 to join. Fasten off with long yarn tail (approximately 12”/30.5 cm) for seaming.
5 Tips for Getting Your Teen Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment with CollegeCovered.com by Underground Crafter
L Square (starting with CB).

Assemble front panel

  • With right sides facing and using yarn tail, follow assembly diagram to join squares on back with slip stitch seam (see Pattern Note) starting in ch before dc and ending in ch after dc on every square.

5 Tips for Getting Your Teen Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment with CollegeCovered.com by Underground Crafter

  • Join rows together in same manner following assembly diagram.

Assemble back panels

  • Join back panels in the same manner as front panel following assembly diagram.

5 Tips for Getting Your Teen Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment with CollegeCovered.com by Underground Crafter Assemble pillow

  • Position front panel with right side up.

5 Tips for Getting Your Teen Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment with CollegeCovered.com by Underground Crafter

  • Position both back panels over front panel, with center rows overlapping.

5 Tips for Getting Your Teen Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment with CollegeCovered.com by Underground Crafter

  • Join yarn with sl st to any corner ch-2 sp. With right sides facing, join front and back panels with slip stitch seam (see Pattern Note) starting in ch before dc and ending in ch after dc on every square and working through all 3 layers at overlapping rows.

5 Tips for Getting Your Teen Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment with CollegeCovered.com by Underground Crafter   Finishing

  • With yarn needle, weave in ends.
  • Turn pillowcase right side out.

5 Tips for Getting Your Teen Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment with CollegeCovered.com by Underground Crafter

  • Insert pillow form into pillowcase.
  • Enjoy your new pillow!

5 Tips for Getting Your Teen Ready to Live in a Dorm Room or Off-Campus Apartment with CollegeCovered.com by Underground Crafter

© 2017 by Marie Segares (Underground Crafter). This pattern is for personal use only. You may use the pattern to make unlimited items for yourself, for charity, or to give as gifts. You may sell items you personally make by hand from this pattern. Do not violate Marie’s copyright by distributing this pattern or the photos in any form, including but not limited to scanning, photocopying, emailing, or posting on a website or internet discussion group. If you want to share the pattern, point your friends to this link: http://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2017/11/09/crochet-pattern-l-square-pillow-with-collegecoveredcom. Thanks for supporting indie designers!

If you make your own L Square Pillow, I’d love to see it! Share your progress and questions by tagging me on Facebook as @Underground Crafter, Instragram as @ucrafter, or Twitter as @ucrafter. You can also share a picture in the Underground Crafters Facebook group. Sign up for my weekly newsletter and get a coupon code for your choice of one of my premium patterns and other subscriber goodies.  Plus, you’ll never miss one of my free patterns again!

Add the L Square Pillow to your Ravelry favorites or queue. Underground Crafter on RavelryIf you want an easy print format, you can buy an ad-free PDF version on Craftsy. Underground Crafter on Craftsy

6 Tips for Turning Your Hobby Into a Business

6 Tips for Turning Your Hobby Into a Business by Underground Crafter | Have you considered transforming your passion for crafts in to a career or a side hustle? I share my tips for getting started, along with links to free resources.Nine years ago, I turned my passion for crafts into Underground Crafter. Over the years (and especially since I launched the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show podcast in 2014), I’ve had many crocheters, knitters, and other crafters reach out to me and ask how to turn a hobby into a business.

This post is sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks and #WeAllGrow Latina Network, but the opinions and thoughts are my own.

In this post, I’m going to share six tips to help you get started as you make the shift from hobby to business, along with helpful (and free!) resources from the Intuit QuickBooks Resource Center.

1) Understand Why YOU Want to Own a Business

6 Tips for Turning Your Hobby Into a Business by Underground Crafter | Have you considered transforming your passion for crafts in to a career or a side hustle? I share my tips for getting started, along with links to free resources.Knowing what your purpose is in making the transition from hobbyist to business owner will provide you with direction and motivation. Some crafters want to earn just enough money to fund their own craft supplies, others are looking for a steady side income that will pay for extras like vacations, and a few are planning to eventually replace their income from work. Once you’ve determined what your purpose is in starting a business, you can use this guide to choosing your business structure to help you identify the right legal structure.

By the way, both your purpose and your legal structure can change over time. When I started Underground Crafter, I was really just looking for a way to fund my craft hobbies. Now, it’s an important part of my household income.

2) Shift Your Mindset

6 Tips for Turning Your Hobby Into a Business by Underground Crafter | Have you considered transforming your passion for crafts in to a career or a side hustle? I share my tips for getting started, along with links to free resources.You may have noticed that I wrote “own” a business and not “have” a business. It seems like a minor point, but changing your mindset from a hobby crafter to a business owner is just as important as understanding the purpose of your business. Your plan is now to own a business that will eventually be profitable (meaning that your business will earn more than the resources that are put into it).

This mindset will help you to make decisions and to develop the confidence to work with other partners, such as sponsors. It may also help you set boundaries at home. Let’s face it: Your partner, children, or family may be confused about the shift in focus of your crafting. They may not think of you as being “at work” while you’re sitting on the couch knitting. The more you can adapt a business owner’s mindset, the more you can help those around you understand and support your goals.

3) Develop a Plan

6 Tips for Turning Your Hobby Into a Business by Underground Crafter | Have you considered transforming your passion for crafts in to a career or a side hustle? I share my tips for getting started, along with links to free resources.It’s been my experience that craft businesses with concrete goals are more successful and longstanding than the ones where the owners always fly by the seat of their pants. Now, since most hobby businesses (at least at the beginning) are not very resource-intensive, many owners avoid developing a business plan. Once you read the 7 Elements of A Business Plan, you’ll realize that business plans aren’t just for companies seeking loans or investors; business plans also help you to keep your business organized, remind you to plan ahead, and clarify goals when difficult decisions need to be made.

4) Manage Cash Flow

6 Tips for Turning Your Hobby Into a Business by Underground Crafter | Have you considered transforming your passion for crafts in to a career or a side hustle? I share my tips for getting started, along with links to free resources.Earlier this year, I attended a workshop sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks Self-Employment at Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn. One of the tax pro speakers made a statement that really stuck with me. She said, “books are to help you run your business, not for the IRS.” So many small businesses avoid bookkeeping because they associate it with “tax time.” In reality, if you’re not tracking your expenses and the money coming in to your business throughout the year, you have no idea what’s happening in your business.

Before you can manage your cash flow, you have to know what it is. The Beginner’s Guide to Cash Flow gives a great overview and explains the difference between profit and cash flow.

Most crafters struggle with the administrative aspects of their businesses. Let’s face it: We’re creative types and we want to spend more time crocheting and less time doing data entry or sending out invoices. The QuickBooks Resource Center has some great forms you can adapt so you don’t have to spend much time setting up your systems, such as this free Cash Flow Statement template with a guide and example.

5) Diversify Income Sources

6 Tips for Turning Your Hobby Into a Business by Underground Crafter | Have you considered transforming your passion for crafts in to a career or a side hustle? I share my tips for getting started, along with links to free resources.Another way to enhance cash flow throughout the year is to make money from several different sources. This is especially true because many crafts are seasonal and you might not bring in much cash during certain times of the year.

In my businesses, I maintain websites that are monetized through ad networks and affiliate links; write patterns, articles, and tutorials for third-party publishers as a freelancer; teach crochet and knitting; sell my independently published patterns and books; provide tech editing services to other designers; and work with sponsors. I’ve also sold hooks and kits and provided services to yarn companies in the past. You can find out more about different income streams by reading (or listening to) 6 Income Streams for Yarn-Related Businesses.

6) Lower Expenses

6 Tips for Turning Your Hobby Into a Business by Underground Crafter | Have you considered transforming your passion for crafts in to a career or a side hustle? I share my tips for getting started, along with links to free resources.If you’re like most craft-related businesses, it will take you some time to become profitable. Until you’re earning as much as you’d like, minimize the impact of your business on the rest of your household by lowering expenses. Not surprisingly, this helps with cash flow, too. Here are a few ways to get started.

  • Read (or listen to) my 4 suggestions for sourcing yarn inexpensively for your business.
  • Take a DIY approach to running your business initially. It can be fun to shop for new gadgets and promotional items for your new business. Instead, save money by making something, buying used, or upcycling until your business is bringing in more money. If you don’t need it, wait until your business can afford it.
  • Make the most of free trials. If a service or software offers a free trial, actually use it! Make sure during those 7, 15, or 30 days that it is an expense that your business really needs to take on at this moment. This is also a great way to find out if it is a service or product you are comfortable using and whether it is worth the expense.
  • Use the QuickBooks Resource Center to educate yourself. You’re probably already familiar with Intuit because of QuickBooks, the top accounting software for small businesses, or TurboTax, my preferred software for tax preparation for the past 8 years. Through QuickBooks, Intuit has been helping millions of small businesses to manage their finances for over 30 years. They offer the QuickBooks Resource Center for free, and it’s great to have access to so many articles and forms from a trusted source. Some that might be particularly helpful to new craft businesses are…

I hope you’ve found these six tips for shifting from a hobbyist to a business owner helpful. If you decide that owning a crafts business is a journey you’d like to take, I wish you success! (And, if you’d rather stick with crafting for fun, that works for me, too!)

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Intuit QuickBooks and #WeAllGrow Latina Network. The opinions and text are all mine.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Underground Crafter!Happy New Year!

As I think about how Underground Crafter has grown over the past year, I’m so appreciative of your support. I already have some ideas for new and fun things to share in 2017, but I’m also open to your suggestions. In the early days of 2017, I’ll be sending a link to a reader survey to my weekly newsletter subscribers. Everyone who shares feedback in the survey will get her or his choice of any premium pattern from my Ravelry shop. If you’d like to get that extra freebie, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.

I wish you the best for a wonderful 2017 filled with creative inspiration, health, and happiness!